It’s update time! Remember when we told you that the professional soccer team Columbus Crew might be coming to Austin (and thinking about using city parkland as a possible stadium site)? Well, here’s the latest.
Earlier this week, Council Member Ann Kitchen (District 5) unveiled a resolution that if passed, would remove city parkland from the list of possible stadium locations, most notably, Butler Shores and Roy Guerrero parks. The resolution is being cosponsored by fellow Council members Alison Alter, Jimmy Flannigan, and Leslie Pool. Not only does the resolution seek to remove city parkland from the list of possible stadium locations, but it also directs city staff to take a closer look at a piece of property on McKalla Lane (near the Domain) as a possible stadium location.
The debate over whether or not city parkland is an appropriate place for a soccer stadium has been raging ever since Columbus Crew first announced its interest in moving to Austin.
On the one hand, the owner of Columbus Crew has expressed a strong preference for the Butler Shores location, citing the desire for a downtown stadium as one of the major drivers motivating his decision to move the team from Ohio to Austin in the first place. The idea behind this location is that it would allow attendees to walk or take the bus to get to the games and create a major attraction right in the city’s urban core.
In fact, earlier this month, the Columbus Crew owners officially ruled out the Travis County Expo Center as a possible stadium location, telling the Austin American-Statesman that it was too far away from downtown and other entertainment options.
On the other hand, organizations like the Save Our Springs Alliance have come out in strong opposition to the idea of a stadium at Butler Shores, writing in a blog post that, “…Austin park land is NOT for sale to anyone at any price-and certainly not water front park land.”
In the blog post, the Save Our Springs Alliance continued on to say that given Austin’s current parkland shortage, the city should only be working to grow our open spaces, as opposed to selling them or giving them away.
So how can you participate in this conversation?
City Council is likely to discuss Kitchen’s resolution at its February 15th meeting, which will definitely be full of Austinites on both sides of the debate making their case. As with all City Council meetings, you are welcome to attend and participate in that process. An agenda will be posted here closer to the meeting date.
As the organization that is tasked with protecting the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail (which touches Butler Shores and Roy Guerrero), the Trail Foundation has also entered into this conversation, setting up meetings with Council members, Parks and Recreation staff, and the Columbus Crew owners. They’re also trying to collect community inputthrough an online survey, which closes on Friday, January 26th at midnight. You can take the survey here>>